The evolution of HIV illness representation among marginally housed persons

G. Sacajiu, A. Fox, M. Ramos, N. Sohler, D. Heller, C. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Many HIV-infected marginally housed individuals have difficulty engaging in health care. To investigate HIV health-related behaviour, 14 in-depth interviews with marginally housed HIV-infected individuals were conducted and analysed utilizing standard qualitative methodologies. The analysis was based on the Illness Representation Model, which describes five conceptual dimensions of illness: identification; cause; timeline; management; and consequences. A theoretical model of illness representation at two distinct time points emerged and included the two categories: 'didn't suspect and didn't believe it' and 'knew but needed proof'. In this study illness representation categories were found to evolve and change over time, and were associated with engagement in HIV care. This study may help guide programmes that focus on enhancing health-promoting behaviour and improving engagement in health care among marginally housed individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-545
Number of pages7
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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